Soft Hornwort - Ceratophyllum submersum


A submerged, free-floating bright green aquatic plant having a feathery appearance in water. The leaves are soft and three or four forked. The small flowers are green.

Similar Species

Ceratophyllum demersum (Rigid Hornwort) has leaves that divide no more than twice from their base. C submersum (Soft Hornwort) has leaves divided 3-4 times.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

Leaves forked 3 - 4 times

Recording advice

The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification


Ponds, still water.

When to see it

Flowers July to September.

Life History


UK Status

Locally distributed in England and Wales.

VC55 Status

Infrequent and local in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 22 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011) it is listed as rare, but possibly overlooked.

It is on the VC55 Rare Plant Register

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map